SACS requires that each institution establish a SACS Leadership Team to oversee and manage all aspects of its reaffirmation, including its Compliance Certification and the development of its QEP. Additional committees or work groups may be established to assist in the process, but the Leadership Team is the only one specifically mandated by SACS and is responsible for coordinating and managing all institutional activities related to reaffirmation.
SACS wants the Leadership Team to "include individuals who have the skills, knowledge, and authority to lead in this total institutional effort." However, it repeatedly stresses that this should not be a large group of people. The Leadership Team is not meant to be a cross-section of the entire university, nor is it meant to include representatives of all important groups on campus. Instead, it should be a small, core group of people who, because of their positions and/or their experience, are uniquely qualified to direct the institution's reaffirmation efforts.
Those that SACS does want on the Leadership Team include:
- the chief executive officer,
- the chief academic officer,
- the accreditation liaison, and
- a representative faculty member.
- The chief financial officer, while not specifically required to be on the Leadership Team, is frequently mentioned in the SACS handbooks as a key participant in the reaffirmation process who must work closely with the team.
Of these five, the two that receive the greatest attention from SACS are the institution's chief executive officer and its accreditation liaison. Both have important roles to play before and after, as well as during, reaffirmation. According to the Handbook for Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation, the chief executive officer and the accreditation liaison are responsible for the accuracy of all information submitted to the Commission [on Colleges of SACS] and for ensuring ongoing compliance with Commission standards, policies, and procedures beyond reaffirmation.
Leadership Team responsibilities are:
- Coordinating and managing the internal review process, including developing the structure and timelines for ensuring the timely completion of all tasks and attending the Orientation Meeting conducted by the Commission on Colleges.
- Coordinating the completion of the Compliance Certification
- Ensuring that the institutional community is engaged in the review process and is informed of the progress of the review.
- Overseeing the completion and ensuring the accuracy of the Institutional Summary Form submitted at the time of the Orientation Meeting, included with the Compliance Certification, and updated for the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee.
- Developing the Focused Report, if the institution so chooses.
- Overseeing the development and implementation of the Quality Enhancement Plan.
- Overseeing arrangements for the on-site visit.
- Ensuring that the appropriate follow-up activities are in place to address compliance issues cited by the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee, recommendations written by the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee, and requests for subsequent monitoring reports by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.